People Moves

Head Of Swiss Regulator Resigns, Briton Takes Over

Sandra Kilhof, Reporter, London, 20 January 2014

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In a surprise move Patrick Raaflaub is stepping down as chief executive of the Swiss financial regulator FINMA at the end of this month, with a British former UBS banker set to take over.

Patrick Raaflaub is stepping down as chief executive of the Swiss financial regulator FINMA at the end of this month. The surprising announcement comes at a tense time for the Swiss finance industry, as the watchdog is currently overseeing Swiss banks working with US officials in a crackdown on wealthy Americans evading taxes.

Raaflaub has been responsible for the supervisory authority's management for over five years, and his resignation comes as a surprise to many. The FINMA Board of Directors said it “regrets his decision to resign,” and that it has begun looking for a new CEO to replace Raaflaub. In the meantime, deputy chief executive Mark Branson, will take over the management of FINMA as of February 2014 until further notice.

Patrick Raaflaub took up the post of FINMA CEO on 1 January 2009, the day on which the supervisory authority was launched. The immediate task was to merge three predecessor authorities (the Swiss Federal Banking Commission, the Federal Office of Private Insurance and the Anti-Money Laundering Control Authority).

"The fact that FINMA has drawn on lessons learnt from the crisis in a focused and successful way is due in no small measure to Patrick Raaflaub," said Anne Héritier Lachat, chair of the FINMA board of directors.

“Under Patrick Raaflaub, FINMA has standardised and professionalised its supervisory processes. I very much regret his decision to leave FINMA”.
Raaflaub himself, said in a statement that he was now “ready to take on a new challenge”, following his departure from FINMA at the end of January 2014.

His successor, Mark Branson, is British-born and ironically enough, led UBS in Japan at a time when the Swiss bank's traders there were manipulating benchmark interest rates, for which it was fined $1.5 billion by regulators in 2012. Branson was later cleared by the Swiss regulator, which he, as mentioned, is now set to lead. 

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